$30K-$40K

$30K-$40K

The Volvo C30 debuted for the 2008 model year and gave Volvo buyers something that they have craved for years – a sporty model. In its base format, the C30 pumps out a stout 227 horsepower from its 2.5-liter inline 5-cylinder engine. Though it was relatively powerful, Volvo felt it needed a little bit more by developing a Polestar version of this hot hatchback.

We first caught a glimpse of the C30 Polestar concept way back in 2010 and we expected to see a production model shortly after, but it never happened. This 2010 concept boasted a 450-horsepower, turbocharged 2.5-liter engine, leaving the sky as the limit with the production model.

Finally, after two years of development, Volvo has announced that it will release a limited number of production C30 Polestars to the public. Along with this announcement comes a press release showing off its features and, more importantly, its specifications.

The question hanging over the head of this new arrival in big bold letters is “Can it live up to the hype?” We definitely do not expect 450 ponies from this 3-door Polestar hatchback, but it still has some pretty big shoes to fill.

UPDATE 10/30/12: The Volvo C30 Polestar Edition was spotted at the 2012 SEMA Auto Show! It definitely caught us by surprise, we’ll tell you that. But seeing it there has convinced us that this sports car deserves to be in the company of all those sick machines.

To find out if Volvo hit a homerun or struck out with the C30 Polestar Limited Edition, click past the jump.

Mini has just confirmed their line-up for the 2012 Geneva Motor Show and as expected, the John Cooper Works Countryman is on that list. The car was caught testing for the first time last winter in Austria, but we have to admit it looks better than expected.

The new John Cooper Works Countryman is based on the current, most powerful version of the vehicle - the Countryman S - that uses a 177 HP turbocharged 1.6-liter engine. However, for the JCW version, the engine’s output has been increased to 218 HP. The car will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds and will be capable of hitting a top speed of 140 mph (manual version).

The new Countryman JCW will be distinguished by the usual JCW aerodynamic kit, an exclusive selection of paint finishes, 18" light-alloy wheels, a sports exhaust system, and a sporty interior.

UPDATE 09/26/2012: Mini has announced that the new Countryman John Cooper Works will go on sale on the US market at a starting price of $35,550.

Hit the jump to read more about the new Mini Countryman JCW.

Chevrolet Camaro 1LE

In recent months, we have all been exercising our salivary glands over two special edition Camaros coming for the 2013 model year. The first was the 580-horsepower, supercharged Camaro ZL1 convertible. The second of this bunch is the Camaro 1LE , which we recently pitted against the Mustang Boss 302. The ZL1 soft top, according to Camaro’s chief engineer, Al Oppenheiser, will hit showrooms at $60,445, including destination charge, and the 1LE will come in at $37,035, which also includes destination charges.

The ZL1 comes right in line with the Shelby GT500 convertible that it competes with, as it retails at $59,995 with the destination charge already included. As we all know, even though the ZL1 is considered a “competitor” for the GT500, they are completely different animals altogether. The ZL1 is a better daily driver and works better on a road course. The GT500, on the other hand, is a straight-forward sprinter with not nearly the agility of the ZL1.

The 1LE’s direct competitor is the Mustang Boss 302, which sits at $42,995, giving the 1LE a significant advantage in pricing. GM claims that the 1LE is actually tuned more to compete with the Boss 302 Laguna Seca, but with how close our comparison was between the base Boss 302 and the 1LE, we take that as a sales pitch until we get more hard facts under our belt.

We’re going to keep a really close eye on the 1LE release and keep you in tune with what exactly is going on, as some of the details are still unknown.

Nissan unveiled the 370Z Coupe in 2009 as a replacement for the 350Z , and the roadster version followed one year later. Over its short life, the car has largely remained the same, with only minor modifications made to the list of equipment.

Compared to the 350Z, the new Nissan 370Z features a more aggressive design language, intentionally picking up elements from the 240Z’s design. These elements provide a sleek aerodynamic shape, a "dynamic motion" feel with a dramatic cantilevered roof, and a "low visual gravity."

Both the coupe and roadster versions of the 370Z are offered in standard and Touring variants, with a 332 HP 3.7-liter DOHC V6 engine and choice of a 6-speed manual transmission or a 7-speed automatic transmission. In addition to these options, Nissan also has a Nismo model that delivers a total of 350 HP.

UPDATE 07/20/2012: Nissan has announced prices for the 2013 Z line-up: the coupe version is priced from $33,120; the roadster from $41,470; and the Nismo version is priced at $43,020. All models are now on sale at Nissan dealers nationwide. Hit the jump for full model and accessories pricing details.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2009-2013 Nissan 370Z.

After being rumored for quite some time, the new Cadillac ATS compact sedan has officially been unveiled at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. The car was built to challenge some of the world’s best premium cars like the BMW 3-Series and the Mercedes C-Class. It will go on sale in Summer 2012.

The new 2013 Cadillac ATS will be distinguished by its active shutter grille, LED-infused headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome trim, vertical taillights, and integrated trunk spoiler. It is also the first Cadillac model to carry the CUE infotainment system - an eight-inch LCD multi-touch sensitive screen that is integrated into the top of the center instrument panel.

Customers will have the possibility to choose between three engines: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 200 HP, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 270 HP, and a 3.6-liter V6 with 318 HP. All three engines can be combined with either a six-speed manual transmission or an automatic transmission, as well as an optional all-wheel drive system.

"Designed with quick, nimble and fun-to-drive dynamics, ATS expands Cadillac’s portfolio into a crucial global segment," said Don Butler, vice president of marketing for Cadillac. "For a new group of luxury consumers, this is a car that will fit their lifestyle and challenge the segment’s status quo."

UPDATE 06/17/12: Cadillac has released the official online configurator for the ATS sedan. Hop on over to the Caddy website and put on your creative hats and play away!

UPDATE 07/18/12: The new Cadillac ATS will be the star of a new series of videos featuring the sedan traveling the world to challenge some of the most punishing roads on Earth. Watch as the ATS’ advanced features are challenged and set the standard in every corner of the earth.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2013 Cadillac ATS.

Posted on by Timmy Calloway 6

When you talk about muscle cars, the name "Mustang " comes up a lot. And when you’re a car guy, you either love the Mustang or you hate it. Camaro fans almost always despise the Mustang, and likewise, Mustang fans curse the day the Camaro was born. I am one of the few, though, that is a fan of American cars in general. I love Chevrolet , Ford , and Dodge . America would be a very boring place for gearheads if these three brands did not create the muscle cars that they did. This is especially true for the Mustang.

On March 9, 1964, Ford’s assembly line in Dearborn, Michigan started production on a car that would change the entire industry. Just over a month later, people at the New York World’s Fair laid eyes on the very first pony car ever built. This new class of car spawned the birth basically every American muscle car from that point on. And now, 48 years later, the 2013 Ford Mustang GT is a work of art.

The legend continues...

The history of the TT (Tourist Trophy) started in 1995 when Audi unveiled the first concept at the 1995 Frankfurt Motor Show. It would be a full three years before the market would be introduced to the production model in 1998, but when that happened, it arrived in both coupe and roadster versions. The first generation remained active until 2006, when the company released the second generation TT for the 2007MY.

Compared to the first generation TT , the model unveiled in 2006 featured a completely redesigned exterior, a switch from the Volkswagen Group PQ34 platform to the PQ35, and new, improved engines. At the launch, the TT MK2 was offered with a choice of two inline four-cylinder engines and a V6 carried over from the previous model, but in the years that have followed since then, Audi has enriched the line-up with even more engine choices to satisfy the market.

For the most part, the second generation TT has remained unchanged, but the past couples of years have brought on some tweaks to freshen up the car’s look. In 2011, the TT was given a more powerful bumper, larger air inlets with three-dimensional, sharp edges, and fog lights set in chrome rings. Under the hood, Audi placed new technologies that allowed improved fuel consumption. For 2012, Audi has decided to offer the TT-RS version on the US market, which is enough of a change to warrant some attention.

Hit the jump to read more about the Audi TT.

The 2012 Honda Pilot is entering a market that’s about as competitive as its ever been. But that’s not as important because it’s coming to the party chalk-full of new features that are sure to attract a wide range of customers.

Honda ’s new eight-passenger SUV comes with a wide range of upgrades for 2012, including a refreshed front-end design, enhanced interior features that come with plenty of new technological goodies and a wide-range of safety enhancements, and finally, an increased fuel economy rating compared to its predecessor.

The competitive nature of today’s SUV market has prompted automakers to bring their best offering to the table. In the case of Honda, the 2012 Pilot offers the best of everything they have to offer, complete with four different trim levels - the EX, the LX, the EX-L, and the Touring - and a plethora of new features that include power windows/locks, keyless entry, a seven speaker audio system and front/rear air conditioning, among other things.

Find out more about the 2012 Honda Pilot after the jump.

The European market got graced with the Volkswagen Golf R at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show, but we had to wait two more years before seeing it on our side of the pond. Alas, the time has come and the Golf R’s debut even came with more power, more performance, less gasoline consumption, and a reasonable $33,990 price tag.

The new Golf R uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 256 HP, 6 HP more than the previous R32 sold on the US market back in 2008. With this adjustment, Volkswagen states that the Golf R is "the most powerful VW sports performance vehicle ever sold in the U.S."

The Golf R is also more economical, delivering a fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway compared with an EPA estimated mileage of 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for the previous R32.

Hit the jump to read more about the Volkswagen Golf R.

Posted on by Deric Raymond 23

Acura has spiffed up its entry level sedan, the TSX , to give us the 2012 Special Edition TSX. Though Acura will stick to its tried and true 2.4-liter inline-four VTEC power plant with no additional power increases, there are upgrades inside and out.

The exterior features a more aggressive front spoiler giving it a sporty look, reminiscent of their old sports coupe, the RSX . Other cosmetic upgrades include a rear bumper fascia, side sills, and a fancy "Special Edition" badge on the trunklid.

In the cabin, Acura has made "sport-minded appointments" including suede seat inserts with red backing. There is red stitching abound—on the shift knob, seats, and steering wheel—that compliment nicely with the red ambient lighting featured on the gauge cluster, overhead lighting, and footwell lighting. The pedals have also been upgraded to aluminum.

Acura has also released pricing options for the entire TSX range, with the base model starting at $29,810. The Special Edition starts at $30,810 and comes with either a five-speed auto or six-speed manual tranmission. Opt for the Technology Package—upgraded sound system and navigation—and the price jumps to $32,910.

If you want a 280-horsepower V6 model, MSRP climbs to $35,350, or $38,450 with the Technology Package. Wagon models are also available for $31,160, or $34,810 with the tech upgrades.

Hit the jump to see the press release on the Special Edition model.

Source: Acura News

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